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the proceeds to purchase longer-term treasury securities. however as the scheduled end point of the program approach, it became clear that the economy remained weak. and the fomc took a series of steps to provide further impetus to the recovery. in june 2012, the committee extended its maturity program until the end of this year. thin inset 10 but it made a major new commitment to asset purchases. unlike its past purchase programs which were fixed in size, this time the fomc stated its determination to continue the program, provided that inflation remained well contained until it judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market. the committee currently intends
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to purchase treasury debt at a pace that will lay out about $85 billion per month as social security to the federal reserve's balance sheet. and determining the size, and composition of these purchases over time, the committee will also take into account the ongoing assessment of their efficacy and cost. the second unconventional policy tools that the fomc has issued its forward guidance. in the form of more explicit and more detailed information about the future path of monetary policy. the longer-term interest rates the most profound influence housing demand, capital spending and asset prices depends on current and its effective future levels of short-term interest rates. such as the federal funds rate that has been the feds conventional monetary policy
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tool. signaling the future path of the federal funds rate and, therefore, directly affect interest rates today on autoblog, home mortgages, and bonds issued by companies and state and local governments, even when the current level of the federal funds rate cannot be lowered. the fomc's substantially expanded its forward guidance in recent years. in 2009, the committee stated that the economic conditions are likely to warrant conceptually low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period. and 2011, the fomc said this period would likely last at least through mid-2013, and then extended the state guidance several times. a disadvantage of this calendar-based approach was that
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it might not be clear whether changes in the date reflect changes in the fomc is outlook for growth, for inflation, or a shift in the desired stance of policy. so last december the fomc replaced the date with greater detail on its economic conditions that would warrant maintaining the federal funds rate at its present exceptionally low levels. specifically, it stated that near zero rates would like to remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends, and at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5%. inflation between one and two years ahead as projected, could be no more than half a percentage point above the committee's 2% longer run goals, and longer-term inflation
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expectations continue to be well anchored. it serves emphasis that the 6.5% unemployment rate, and inflation one to two years ahead, that a half percentage point above the committee's 2% objective, our thresholds for possible action and not triggers that will necessarily prompt an immediate increase in fomc's target rate. in practical terms it means that the committee does not expect to raise the federal funds rate as long as unemployment remains above the 6.5%, and inflation one to two years ahead as projected to be less than half a percentage point above its 2% objective. when one of these thresholds is cross, action is possible, but not her shirt. moreover, these thresholds for
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possible action do not reflect any change in the committee's longer run goals. with respect to maximum employment in most fomc participants continue to estimate that the longer run normal unemployment rate lies in the range of 5.2-6%. and the committee continues to believe an inflation rate of 2% is most consistent with the federal reserves dual mandate. indeed, the committee reaffirmed its longer run goals, first adopted in january 2012, just last month. of course our control over the economy is in perfect. and so temporary deviations from the fomc specific longer-term goals will sometimes occur. importantly, these quantitative goals are neither -- for inflation and unemployment, and
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the committee will take a balanced approach to returning both measures to their unchecked is over time. i believe the policy steps we've taken recently are in accord with this balanced approach. with employment so far from its maximum level, and with inflation currently running and expected to continue to run at or below the committee's 2% longer-term projective, it is entirely appropriate for progress in attaining maximum employment to take center stage in determining the committee's policy stance. while the committee's longer-term goals remain unchanged -- unchanged in what has changed is the fomc is now providing more information about how it expects to pursue its inflation in employment goals. in particular, we will employ our policy tools as appropriate
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to raise aggregate demand and employment, in the context of continued price stability consistent with our balanced approach. that's good news for workers because i believe that these steps will increase demand and more demand means more jobs. it will be a long road back to a healthy job market. it will be years before any workers feel like we gain ground lost in 2007. longer-term trends such as globalization and technological change will continue to post challenges to workers in many industries. let me close with some words of encouragement. the job market is improving. the process has been too slow, but there is progress. my colleagues and i at the federal reserve are well aware of the difficulties faced by
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workers in his slow recovery, and we're actively engaged in continuing efforts to promote a stronger economy, more jobs, and better conditions for all workers. thanks for the opportunity to speak to you today. [applause] >> first of all, i'd like to thank afl-cio for invitation, and imk for this great conference. and this conference is needed and it has a certain title. what are opportunity, possibilities to corporations, and what can we do? to my mind this is very
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important because we have to share views, we have to share challenges, we have to share signs, we have to share also the different political and institutional structures in europe and in the u.s. but there's another reason. the reason is, that has been said this morning, of course, economy is not always and only about data, but it's also about hegemony. it's a fight about ideas and the question is what kind of ideas? give you one little example. when we are talking about the europe crisis in europe, conservatives have reached one thing. the euro crisis on their view, and that is agreed on by many politicians and also by the
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public, the euro crisis is a crisis and has its reasons, in the public deficit. this is only one small part that they succeeded in bringing this view through, and it's also, that has consequences of course for economic policies. and, therefore, it's very important, and, of course, american economic debate has huge influence on european debates. it's very important that we are talking together, that we are working together and that we are trying to make a more differentiated approach on what and how to make policies engage the crisis. and that is, that is important
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because, and let me say that, because this room is full of progressives. that's my view when i came here. we have to be sure about one thing, or if we have to we think one thing. what is aggressive politics today? -- progressive politics today. this seems a fun question, but that's a very important question. and let me, let me tell you what i mean about this. progressive politics meant, when i grew up and i was born in 1960, it was very clear in germany that my father fought, my son is going to have a better life this is no longer clear in europe. i think it's no longer clear in the u.s. and if you look at progress, and that meant economic growth in europe and in the u.s., is
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leading to better incomes. economic growth is leading to better jobs. economic growth is leading to a better wealth state and better social security. and even two more sustainability to look at the environment. now we have to learn, and that is quite a challenge for progressive politics that this is no longer working. and it's even no longer working when we were in power. and i'm a social democrat, and if you look at the years when we were in power, everyone is now single kid, we work economically very successful in those days because competitiveness of the german economy grew, but on the other hand, you have to admit the following. there are no better incomes, there are no better jobs,
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there's no better wealth of state and more social security. and this of course means that we have to rethink a couple of questions, and these are to my mind on the agenda. and i will make a quote of michael sandal for made the book these days, a book with a tough, what money can buy. and i give you two citations, to quote that are in the book come to my mind, arthur edward the first quote is the following. the most fateful change that unfolded during the past decade was not an increase in greed, it was the expansion of markets and have market values into areas of life where they don't belong. and the second quote, as a
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result without quite realizing it, without ever deciding to do so, we drifted from what having -- from having a market economy to being a market in society. that's true, and that's to my mind is a huge challenge, and this is true, ways gone on to say, for progressives politics. and what have been debated in the two panels before to my mind, there are five huge challenges taking serious what michael said. ica five big challenge. first of all, how can we stop the financialization of our economy, or as a positive, how can we rebalance the real economy and the financial sector? and so far we didn't succeed. if you look at the u.s. over look to europe, we didn't
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succeed, having built up a new balance. secondly, how can we build an industrial policy strategy? because one thing is very clear, if we want, ever want to reduce the financial sector, we have -- the question is how can we do that. and what is our strategy to make, with an industrial policy to strengthen our competitiveness in the global economy, and be successful in the industrial sector. by the way, being one of those negotiators, a couple of years ago in the climate and energy debate, i had a lot of talks with americans and british, and they always told us stop this,
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stop this with the industry, going to a service orientation economy. that is a lot easier than to reduce your emissions. we didn't do it and we were right that we should do it, and, therefore, we needed industrial policy strategy. third, also the challenge, how and what is the content of the program for good work, i'll state it more clear, how can we reestablish more law and order of the labor market? to give you one little example, everyone is looking at germany at the moment, because we are quite strong. we are quite successful, if we look at our unemployment rate. but the truth is, 10 million people and i know it will top of this in the labor -- later
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panel, 10 million people i will tell you situations, 10 million. i'm coming from the east. one-third of those people in my state return less than -- and, therefore, many other important so i can what is the program for more law and order on the labor market going to support? labor, the movement and to bring it as has been said before, a new bargain power into our economy. fourth, how can we renew the welfare state, and that means how can we build up and a new financial mechanism to make the welfare states, or make them able to do its job. and the last thing, how can we strengthen the state, its
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ability, investment and regulations? this is very important because of one thing. in germany and in europe we agreed on a dead rate -- debt rates. and this will have in decades to come a huge consequences for the whole private sector. so the question is how can we make this date to an actor, to an investor into our future? so having said this, what does it mean? what does it mean? and i'd like to make some remarks to my mind what does it mean. germany, we have an ability and growth act that was put into power in 1967. and this, this legislation had
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four targets. high level of employment, price stability, balance in foreign trade and payments, steady economic growth. that's the theory, and the question is why doesn't it work? it didn't work because of one reason. especially the last year we concentrated on one target, price stability. price stability. that was the center of what we did economically. and, therefore, and i would like to share a couple of thoughts about this. we have a new debate in the german, in germany, how can we make this more from its target absolutely right? how can we bring into the 21st century?
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and what has to be done to bring it into the 21st century? and, therefore, we have to rethink the target of the magic square of the stability and growth act, and what are the target and what are the targets? first of all, economic stability is sustainability. and this means that we have to also rethink about what gdp is. because our gdp is not telling the truth. i'll give you one example. the material, prosperity of private households is less than overall gdp on the incomes and their consumption. that is other emphasis and that is why it. although our gdp is growing, we
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have absolute divided development and incomes of different people. so we have to rethink and we have to look how to make this, this factor, this indicator more practical, and how we can build up a more sustainability between private and state standing and investment. and, of course, in germany you can see the problem because the central problem was macroeconomic production has become a couple of from the development of public and private consumption. and that's of course has to be changed. i give you a second little, little example of this first indicator, for economic sustainability. we have, we need, when we talk
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about this we need symmetrical balance target that prevents an external balance. this means we made limits to minus 3% but also to plus 3%, because negative on not only credit in the private sector but also weaknesses in the demand. this, of course, has to be step. so the second indicator of the magic square is sustainability for public policy and public finances. so of course important to reduce deficit. by the way, without reducing deficit and having agreement on deficit reduction in the euro zone, the european union and the
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european, the euro zone, couldn't build up a consensus on how to stabilize the our, the euro. so it's different to the debates in the u.s. so this is very, very important because that's the difference to your country. we are not a common state. we are, let's say, 27 state, or 16 or 17 within the european union. and that, of course, makes a huge difference. and that means we have to reduce deficits, but we need also appropriate targets to increase public investment. that's a very, very important because investment rate in germany, in european union is on a very, very low level, and that must also be one of the targets.
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third, social sustainability is also very important. i pointed out germany, since the middle of the '90s, we didn't have an increase of income of those who are workers, despite the last two or three years. so what is needed is not only minimum wage, and because we are running in germany december 2013 where going to bring this end, but we also have to look at the different taxation's in germany if you look at income taxes and so on. and we have to do other things to reduce poverty risk in europe and in germany.
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the last indicator of what i call the magical square is how can we create ecological sustainability. and not only ecological sustainability, but also the question, how can we create growth out of restructuring our economy? and this has a huge potential, if you look at renewables, if you look at other sectors in germany. they have wonderful growth agenda the last 10 years, and they created new jobs. that will bring me to the following point. one thing very clear, the 21st century. that region, that is the most energy and resource efficient, also the most competitive region.
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if you want an example, look at the producing sector in germany. you have to follow cross structure. 43 on average, 43% in the producing sector our energy resource, 20%. so if we're going to reduce energy resource, we make our companies and we make the whole region more competitive. and that is also not only so ecological sustainability, reducing co2 emissions, reducing energy consumption and resource consumption, is a very, very important. i, just maybe i'm talking just for me, i'm very interested having debate, a transatlantic debate on these four elements,
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yeah, of economic development. and hopefully, and i know the next conference is in march, we can bring on these four indicators. and have a debate on how to bring them together that we can create growth, jobs, social security, also sustainable finance and sustainable environmental economic developments. this conference is a help for this, for that, it would be a huge step. thank you. [applause] >> first of all, let me thank both speakers for excellent presentations and analysis. we are going to take some questions, and perhaps i can start off first by throwing just
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a couple of questions out. the good news is both of the panels before you, and both speakers today, i think everybody agreed that the stagnation of the slowness of the recovery is due to lack of demand. one of the offerings this morning was significant increase in the minimum wage, particularly in the united states, up to $15 to start with now. i to be interested in both your thoughts on how that would affect both economies in the recovery act and the second thing is, perhaps you both comment on, the austerity programs that were implemented in europe and those that are proposed in the united states, what effect, in your opinion, they would have on job creation and the recovery. >> thanks for the question.
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let me take a stab at both, first. on the minimum wage, i would say that it's not something that would make up the shortage of demand we have in the economy, but we certainly have seen real wages stagnate come and we certainly have had over a very long period of rise in equality in the united states. and that is something the minimum wage might address. i'm not familiar with all the research on this topic, but a concern of course in raising the minimum wage is that it would have a negative effect on employment, and i would just say that the research that i'm aware of is that suggest that would be a large impact. on the austerity, i think all the evidence that we have at
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hand shows that especially in economies that are very far from full employment and are operating in the context with very low interest rates, close to the zero lower bound, as we are here in the united states, and as for many european countries are, we are seeing larger so-called fiscal multipliers, or namely, more significant negative effects on the economy of austerity, that many researchers had expected. so there is a we thinking going on about just how large a negative impact on an economy of fiscal austerity is the sum of this was motivated by at work by the imf showing that in europe, austerity had, it had a very large negative effect on the economy. and so to me the evidence, both
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in the united states and for europe, is that fiscal austerity does raised on upland, weakening economy, and thereby undermines the goals for which it is designed to achieve. >> yes, thank you. i think it's very obvious. many nations can stabilize private markets but there are a couple of studies by the foundation and others to show this very clear for germany. so we have two, we have to consequences. one, the public, the private demand is going up, and second, the second thing is that shows the behavior to the foundation study, the incomes of the public sector in form of taxes is going to go up, and we can reduce what we've built up in germany that we support those people with low
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incomes by, let's say, certain transfers by the state. this is, in germany, about 11 billion euros a year. so from both sides this is absolutely vital and this is going to come. in germany at the moment we have minimum wages, but also concentrate on certain sectors. only four to 5 million people, but we have 40 million people who are working in germany and that shows we need a new legislation on this. second thing is, of course what has been done in the euro zone has consequences of the economic, on economic develop a. if you look at spain, we have spain at the moment, unemployment rate of about 25%. we have youth unemployment of more than 50%. the truth is we have numbers
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that are, let's say come in the same area in greece. and it is the numbers about cricket if germany would have done the cuts that the greece government has done, we would have to do cuts about 300 billion euros a year in germany. and i don't know if anyone could imagine what this would mean for the economic but also for the social development in his coach. therefore, of course we need a consolidation of the budgets in different touch. but we need also, let's say, a growth agenda for the next year. and we have to admit that some countries like greece and spain, people need more time to reduce their deficit. this is a clear consequence. otherwise, this is going to be a
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very, very long recession in this country's, and this of course not very, let's say, supportive for the development and the euro zone and the european union. >> thank you. we will take some questions from the audience. questions? bill. where is the -- and we will take three questions and you can ask them if in the aggregate. >> [inaudible] >> our discussion about -- has often been ignoring --
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[inaudible] how do you think it would be her by ignoring -- [inaudible] >> my name is patrick malloy. i'm on the central committee in virginia. and that party has adopted a
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statement, resolution. [inaudible] >> i'm not an economist, i'm a lawyer. but when you're a minus net export, that detracts from your dgp growth pashtun gdp growth. i know germany at one point in 1997 had a goal. mr. trumka made a speech last july when he said we should set a national goal. isn't that a very important thing to discuss in this country, how to deal with this massive, ongoing year after year treatment? >> earlier today i was talking about the problem of negative
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equity. it's roughly a billion. and whether in terms of policy choices, whether it's some form of mandatory reform, -- [inaudible] >> let's give the panelists a chance to respond to three not so light questions. >> let me take a shot. with respect to the full employment budget deficit, those questions, it's an extremely useful concept, the full employment budget deficit shows what the deficit would be if the economy were operating at its potential as opposed to fall
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short of it, and that concept would choice now but a very significant part of the u.s. budget deficit is due to the fact that the economy is depressed and, therefore, collecting less tax revenue, and to some extent, higher spending than it otherwise would. as we think about the long-term debt problem that the united states has added think we all recognize needs to be dealt with, i think the full employment budget deficit is particularly useful concept because it gives a sense of just how large a structural problem is that we need to be met in the near term and over time. and i think if we look at the actual numbers behind that, we would see that in order to
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stabilize the debt-to-gdp ratio over, let's say, the next decade, and that's before we began to encounter the huge increases in medical spending in health care spending associated with an aging population and rising health care costs, we see that the adjustments that we need in fiscal policy to stabilize the debt-to-gdp ratio is actually relatively manageable, a couple percentage of gdp and we are part way there. unfortunately, the weak economy had the unfortunate consequence of leaving us with large budget deficits for many years your this is added to the debt-to-gdp ratio making it quite a lot larger than it was before the downturn in a way that it left us with less fiscal room but i think it's a very good concert.
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let me take the trade question. i mean, i would say that the u.s. for many years had very large current account deficits that were structurally -- existed even when the economy was operating near full employment. and appears to be unsustainable in the sense that if something didn't change, it seems like the foreign debt that we would be incurring would grow relative to gdp. and i regarded that as a very worrisome situation. so the dollar in real terms has its ups and downs, and it tends to rise when people are worried about what would happen in the global economy, and we get safe haven inflows for quite some bit of time now, the u.s. dollar has
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been depreciating very gradually in real terms. and i think it has made a very substantial difference to the u.s. current account deficits. it's come down along way and is no longer what i regard as on a sustainable course. so i feel that we have made, we have made progress in that regard. let me take a quick pass at a completely different question on negative home equity. i'm not going to get into the question of principal reduction, but we have the federal reserve, has been quite concerned about negative equity, about the
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lingering problem in the housing sector. and i think i'm as i mentioned in my prepared remarks, negative equity and diminished equity makes it harder for homeowners to gain access to credit come is one of the things that's really a head when to the economy and and is also probably continuing the impact of monitor policy. and we put forward a number of suggestions last year any white paper, and have worked with many groups and other parts of the government to try to think about what can be done. i think the changes that have been made to the h.a.r.p. program to make it easier for households to refinance if they're underwater on their mortgages is a very positive step in the right direction. >> matthias? >> just one quick remark.
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of course germany, 46% of our gdp is coming out of spain. 46%. so one euro out of to. and, of course, in the last years, over the last decades, most of our exports, when into the euro zone. and, therefore, people tend to say the following, deficits -- [inaudible] that is to a certain extent true. that we have to look for the following out of balance of this more or less within the euro zone, and give and make countries like spain and greece more competitive so they can export, also to germany. and that also means that we have to look for, let's say a different income policy for the next years because, just as ford
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said, cars can't abide cars. and now i'm coming to a thing to say, how complicated the question of developing the euro zone is. it's not only a question of how the gdp is going to develop, how the financial markets are going to develop, but also the question about where can country, we can countries go. and there's a broad debate about the following question. what is the business model for greece? so where can they go? how to build up as an industrial base. and what is needed for industrial base, you can say one thing. without educated well skilled workers you are not going to make an industrial base. and so far, to be very honest
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they are not in a situation where, let's say, these workers and the situation is this. so it's more complicated to build up, let's say a balance straight situation within the european union because countries in the eu or even the euro zone are very, very different to what germany or portugal or greece or italy to the east, it's a very, very different situation, in that, that means we need also all a bit of time, education, infrastructure investment, all this is needed so that they have, let's say, a growth perspective for the next years. >> thank you. take another round of questions.
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>> [inaudible] >> the federal reserve hester medical increased its balance sheet since the great recession. about 20, 30 years, it didn't very all that much. suddenly very large increase. is the federal reserve comfortable in that it has an exit strategy so that we don't have either major inflation -- [inaudible] or major losses from purchasing assets and resale trying to bring back this money. thank you. >> a very quick to comment.
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[inaudible] i'm very happy to american colleagues. i think that we in europe -- [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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>> and in the back. did you have your hand up? >> that's what we do. any other questions? okay. is the one back you? >> i'm not an economist. i'm a scholar. i'm from university of maryland school of law. i want to comment on -- comment about how different europe is
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because very different country. this really ties together the last couple of remarks. it appears to me that the european central bank, the european commission, working hand-in-hand with the imf, has been working very, very hard and all of these programs, to water down, decrease all the employment legislation and all of the collective bargaining institutions and many other countries that are already at the bottom in, systemically within europe. and it seems to me that to some extent the german policies have kind of exacerbated it. and so on like you to comment on how to turn that around, this virtual cycle of whether -- and
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collective bargaining rather than using the powers of these interstate and then operations for whatever measures. >> let me take the first question. you indicated that you were concerned about the huge growth in our balance sheet and our exit strategy, and the potential for inflation. that's of course very important question, and its central to monetary policies. we are very committed to our longer run and inflation goal of 2%. and there's absolutely no question that we have our foot not only on the gas but really pressed to the floor in terms of trying at this point with this week recovery, and an economy far from full employment and inflation running below 2%, and
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expect it to continue. we're trying to do everything we can to get the economy moving. but, of course, if we are successful, or if the economy soon revise through other policy means, we will have, we would be faced with an inflation problem if we don't diminish the amount of monetary stimulus. no question about it. i would choose a conceptually, this is the problem whenever the economy is weak and strength. what is the right time and what is the right amount to take away the punch bowl so that the boom that we hope is coming doesn't get out of hand and turned into the next inflation cycle. that's a question of judgment and it's a question our committee will have to make.
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i believe we are well stocked with intelligent, thoughtful people and staff, we will be able to make that judgment. and the question is do we have the tools? with a large balance sheet, and the answer to that i think is unambiguously yes, but we do have the tools. in fact, congress gave us the new tools at the beginning of the crisis, which will be very important when we exit. and that's the ability to pay interest on reserves. so we have a large balance sheet. once upon a time, reserves which what we have created we are bound to pay no interest but that is no longer the case. and what we do and have articulated plans to reduce our balance sheet over time, in part by selling assets, when it's appropriate to tighten, we have the ability to raise the rates
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that we pay for things on the excess reserves they have in their accounts with us. and that's what we will rely on heavily along with others. so we absolutely do that means have the ability to raise short-term rates when the time is right to do it. now, you did also ask about lawsuits i think on our balance sheets, and i'm glad you asked that question. is recently something that's received some attention. our staff has published a paper exploring what our balance sheets and remittances are likely to look like over the next several years and this recently has also been some comment by the congressional budget office. there is a chance that we could go through a period of time in which our income falls, and we couldn't even take losses if we
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decide to sell, for example, mortgage-backed securities in our work folder. so we is conceivable. we pay all the income that we earn over to the treasury. the last several years since the crisis began, expanding large balance sheet. we've been seeing enormous sums to the treasury, and that will continue for quite some time. but yes, it is possible in the course of trying to carry out monetary policy that it will be a period of several years in which those remittances fall to zero. now, that does have implications for the treasury's income, but if one wants to worry about that, i would suggest a larger frame of analysis or thinking about it. and that would be what would be the effect of the federal reserves policy on the overall debt level of the u.s. economy?
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not to look at it in a narrow terms, could there be a period in which checks we're sending to the treasury fall to low levels, but what's the impact of our overall policy on the debt level of the country? and if you think about that, and actually start doing some back of the envelope calculation, you will see that if our policy in even the tiniest favorable effect on the u.s. economy in terms of the passage of employment and gdp growth, and if we're successful in turn -- pushing a longer-term interest rates, we try, we have been, those are the major impacts, and all positive on deficit and debt levels of the country. and so, i would say look at in the right way, this is a policy
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that is not only good for output and employment and american workers, but also to the fiscal finances over all. >> i'm fine. >> okay, we're a little overtime right now anyway, so this is a good time to break. i really want to thank both speakers for not only appearing here and giving their very thought evoking and will analyze presentation, but i also want to thank them for making the answer understandable to non-economist's. i really appreciate their comments in a way that both of you presented the material, and want to thank you for that. let's hear it for both of our panelists. [applause] >> having observed a steady improvement and the opportunities and well being of our citizens, i can report to you the state that is old but
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useful union is good. >> once again, in keeping with time-honored tradition i've come to report to you on the state of the union. and i'm pleased to report that america is much improved. and there's good reason to believe that improvement will continue for the data,. >> my duty tonight is to report on the state of the union, not the state of our government, but of our american community. and to set forth our responsibilities in the words of our founders, to form a more perfect union. the state of the union is strong. >> as we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. yet the state of our union has never been stronger. >> it's because of our people that our future is hopeful, our
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journey goes forward. and the state of our union is strong. >> tonight, president obama delivers this year's address live on c-span. with her preview program starting at 8 p.m. eastern and the president at nine. followed by the gop response and your reaction. the state of the union tonight on c-span, c-span radio and >> i quoted lady bird often but she said the first lady has the podium, and she chose to use it. i think that was her quote. and i think really knowing that, it was after i made the presidential radio address about this, the treatment of women and children and afghanistan by taliban to invite after that i was married. and often dating jenna who was in texas, and we went shopping, and the ladies at the cosmetics counter the work of the cosmetic
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counter in the department store came up and said thank you so much for speaking for women in afghanistan. and that was really the first time that i thought, hey, they heard me. and i think i knew intellectually that the first lady had a podium, but i didn't really know it until after the. >> ceased its new series, first ladies, influence and image, a first of his current project for television examining the public and private lives of the women who serve as first lady. season one begins next monday, presidents' day, at 9 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span, c-span radio and >> this morning the senate judiciary subcommittee on constitution civil rights and human rights will hold a hearing on proposals to reduce gun violence. the u.s. senate is about the gavel and.
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members expect to finish up work today on the violence against women act taking a number of amendment votes as the final passage vote this morning. senators also well recess following those votes at their weekly party meeting. when they return from their break they could begin consideration of the nomination of chuck hagel to being defense secretary of the united states. the senate armed services committee is expected to approve the nomination out of committee later today. a final vote could come as early as tomorrow. this is live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer.
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dr. black. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal lord god, every day your hand of grace is upon us. not a moment goes by that is not touched by your providence. give our senators today tongues to speak your truth and hearts to do your will. lord, give them such a transcendent spirit that they will unleash redemptive forces to transform lives. give them also the light of truth show them where they ought to go. make them faithful stewards of
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their time, talents, and testimony as they seek to live for your glory. we pray in your holy name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. reid: mr. president? the president pro tempore: following liard remarks, the senate will resume consideration of the s. 47, the violence against womenage of the time until 11:00 will be equally
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divided. at 11:00 there will be up to six roll call votes mured to complete action on the legislation. the senate will recess following the disposition of vawa -- that's the violence against women act -- until 2:15 to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. the state of the union is this evening. senators will gather at 8:20 tonight in this chamber in order to proceed as a body to the house of representatives for where the speech will be given. there are six amendments remaining, leahy amendment dealing with sex task, portman dealing with sex trafficking, murkowski dealing with tribal protections, coburn amendment dealing with consolidation of dodge rape programs, and coburn amendment dealing with notice to victims. and final passage. unless we come and ask consent to change the voting order,
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we'll have those votes starting at 11:00 today. mr. president, four years ago as newly elected president of the united states, barack obama prepared to deliver his first address to a joint session of congress. the country at that time was in the midst of a grave crisis. our economy had been shaken to its core a financial crisis sparked by wall street greed. millions of americans had lost their jobs, their homes and their hope. president obama predicted that america would rise to meet the challenges of the day. this is what he said, and i quote, "we will rebuild, we'll recover and the united states of america will emerger stronger than before. the weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation." four years later, we can say with certainty that he was right. over the last 32 months american businesses have created more than 6.1 million jobs -- 6.1 million jobs.
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including hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing in the auto industry. as a matter of fact, mr. president, the figures are really staggering. 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been added, 1 million jobs have been saved due to the president's auto rescue program. so that's a fairly significant change. now, we still have a long ways to go to get back to full strength, and there's still too many americans out of work. we've made solid progress in the last four years but we have a long ways to go. the depth of the crisis did not determine our destiny. instead, determination drove us to prosper again. now we're faced with an opportunity. -- now we're faced with an opportunity disguised as a challenge. america's success is determined by the will.
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i look forward to hearing his vision. i expect the president will call for commonsense inpvestments in our future, investments have been deferred for far too long because of economic turmoil. when times are hard, these investments are easy to put off. but if america hopes to compete in a changing world, we must prepare today's students for tomorrow's jobs. we must give small businesses and american manufacturers the support they need to thrive. we must stop relying on foreign oil and start investing in renewable energy. it is better for our environment and for our economy. if we hope to rebuild and maintain a world-class economy, we must build the 21st century infrastructure to support economy. renewing these investments is not only the right thing to do for our country, it is the right thing to do for our economy. in the last four years, the president has repeatedly reached across the aisle to republicans suggesting we find common ground for the sake of recovery. tonight will be no differentment. he will reach across that aisle. i suspect his proposes will
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include ideas supported by both republicans and democrats. i hope my republican colleagues will give his vision the consideration it deserves. tonight he will also propose a balanced alternative to the devastating automatic spending cuts that take effect next month. the democrats believe we should prevent these cuts to both mils military and to the initiatives that help middle-class families prosper. remember, the republicans in the senate and in the house voted for these harsh measures. we could easily avert these jo s by ending waistful tax breaks for corporations, giveaways to companies that ship jobs overseas. a balanced approach would prevent the damage of the so-called sequester. i was disappointed to learn yesterday that republican leaders in the house have no intention of bringing legislation to the floor to replace the sequester with a more sensible approach.
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so they're going to do nothing. senate democrats will offer our own solution to the sequester later this week. if republicans truly agree that these across-the-board cuts would be damaging to our economy, to national security, they should work to help us pass an alternative. during his first state of the union address a long time, a the first president of the united states, george washington told congress this, "the welfare of our country is a great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed." as republicans and democrats from both chambers come to i repeat, the welfare of our couny is a great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed. democrats and republicans should hear that message that george washington gave a long time ago. and it is important to hear the state of the union tonight, which we will. we should all keep in mind the words of george washington. despite our differences, if there is a will to work to the
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power to build an economy that works for every american, we will succeed. mr. president, would you announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 47, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 1, s. 47, a bill to reauthorize the violence against women act of 1994. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 11:00 a.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. who yields time?
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mr. reid: i suggest the absence of a quorum with the time divided equally between both sides. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: tonight we'll welcome the president to the capitol to deliver his state of the union address. as i mentioned yesterday, republicans will be listening with great interest to see where the president plans to take the country over the coming year. some media outlets are already reporting that we'll be subjected to another litany of left-wing proposals with plenty of red meat for the president's base. i sure hope not. the campaign is over. and the fact is if the president plans to accomplish anything good for the country in the coming months, he's going to have to go through a republican-controlled house. so this morning, i'd like to humbly suggest once again that it's time for the president to reach out to congress, including republicans, and make divided government work.
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that's how he'll actually address the issues americans are most concerned about right now, and it's the only way. the first thing many of us will be listening for tonight is the president's plan for controlling spending and replacing the obama sequester. the record is clear that the president and his aides came up with that sequester, and they got it. so it's a little puzzling to see them now try to pass it off like a hot potato. republicans have been very clear about the fact that we'd rather enact smarter spending cuts. house republicans even voted on a plan not once, but twice, to do just that. but washington democrats so far have failed to put forward a serious proposal of their own. they ignored the issue for more than a year before finally showing up to the debate last week with the issue gimmicks. so this is the president's chance to rally the american people around a real set of
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spending cuts and reforms. i'll be interested to see what he plans to offer, because what we've been hearing so far, frankly, just isn't very encouraging. he needs to understand that the american people will not accept attempts to replace deficit reduction both he parties have already agreed to with tax hikes. you know, we already agreed to reduce spending in the amount that the sequester would reduce spending when we voted the budget control act in august of 2011, and the president signed it. what the president, we expect, will be offering, tax hikes that we all know would be used to finance even more spending. and we promised the american people we'd spend less. if the president does try to do that, then he shouldn't expect anyone else to go along, least of all, the american people.
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many on both sides of the aisle support eliminating tax loopholes in the context of fundamental bipartisan tax simplification that lowers tax rates, and we hope to have a chance to do that in the months ahead. but it's bad policy to punish this industry or that one so that washington can fund one more week of government spending and cause more americans to lose their jobs. and remember, due to operation of law, the president already got the tax increases he wanted back on january 1, because the law expired, the president got the tax increases that he wanted not with any votes, but he got it by operation of law. so we're done with that part of the equation. the tax issue is over. if the president really wants a balanced approach, now is the time to show his hand on the
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spending cuts and reforms he'll accept. that's how compromise works. but when we hear the white house suggest that the challenge of controlling spending is essentially complete, or when we hear the house democratic leader echo the president's claim that we don't have a spending problem, well, it's hard to know where to start after a ridiculous suggestion like that. over the weekend i spent some time in nelson county, kentucky, and i can assure you the folks i spoke with there strongly disagree with the president's assessment. and the truth of the matter is the president knows better than that himself. deep down he knows spending is completely out of control. he knows the debt's already grown by $6 trillion over his four years in office. $6 trillion in a mere four years. he knows that without spending reform, the national debt will increase to double the size of our economy in just a few
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decades. he knows that something must be done now to save medicare and social security before they go broke. and tonight is a chance to show it, to be straight with the american people and to reveal what he plans to do about all of this. the good news is many of the things we need to do to control spending and many of the things we need to do to get the economy moving again are all one and the same. so i was pleased to read that the president might give it to jobs again. unfortunately, we've seen that headline so many times before, we'll have to wait to see how serious it actually is. i've lost count of how many times the president's made one of those pivots. i mean, he's pivoted so many times, reporters covering the white house must be getting completely dizzy. i also hope the president doesn't call for more washington spending tonight. not only is that an ineffective way to create jobs, but it's also the very reason our debt
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continues to climb to such completely unsustainable levels. if the president really does want to do something about job creation for a change, he should leave aside the things that we know haven't worked and try some things that will, like getting the government out of the way. not only will that help jump-start the private economy, it will help us get spending under control at the same time. so it would be a two-fer. jump-start the private economy and get spending control under control at the same time is the best way to jump-start this economy. i also hope the president will use the big stage he'll have tonight to finally level with the american people about the consequences of obamacare. they he deserve to know what's about to hit them. the cost increases, the premium hikes, the taxes.
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and they deserve to know that not only may they not be able to keep the health plan they have and like, but that c.b.o. tells us there will also be fewer jobs. i know these things won't be easy for him to say, but that's what it means to be a statesman, to be honest with the people you represent, to admit when something doesn't turn out the way you said it would. even if we don't hear the president speak directly to the issues americans are most concerned about tonight, i'm confident the man who is set to follow him with the republican response will do just that. in some ways, senator rubio embodies the american dream. as the child of immigrants, he's uniquely positioned to speak to the aspirations of the middle class. unlike our rather easily distracted president, senator rubio has never had to pivot to jobs. he's kept a laser focus on job
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creation and the economy ever since he got here. so i've laid out the things the president needs to address if he's interested in working with republicans to get some good things done for the country in the days and months ahead. i sure hope he's listening. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, as president obama gets ready to deliver his state of the union address tonight, i'd like to remind the american people of what he said four years ago during his first speech to a joint session of congress. four years ago president obama said he did not believe in big government. since then he's given us four consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. he's nationalized our health
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care sector. and he's used federal agencies to impose draconian regulations. if we add up the costs of these proposed or final regulations the obama administration published last year, the total economic burden comes to more than $236 billion. that's a wet blanket on american -- on the american economy and economic growth and job creation. well, if anyone out there still thinks that president obama opposes big government, as the song goes, i've got some ocean-front property in arizona i'd like to sell you. four years ago the president told us he was concerned about our massive national debt. since then our gross national debt has increased by nearly $6 trillion and has grown larger than the entire u.s. economy.
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four years ago the president said we could not ignore our long-term challenges. since then he's ignored the recommendations of his own bipartisan fiscal commission, known as simpson-bowles, and his own treasury secretary has acknowledged that the obama administration does not have a serious plan for long-term deficit reduction. four years ago the president told us that his $1 trillion debt-financed stimulus package would feature unprecedented oversight, and then we learned that the stimulus package wasted money on boondoogles like solyndra. four years ago the president promised us that his plan for health care reform would reduce the cost of health care for american families. since then the cost of
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employer-provided family health insurance has increased by more than $2,300 per family. four years ago the president said that he viewed the federal budget as a blueprint for our future. since then two of the president's budget proposals have been unanimously rejected by this chamber, by republicans and democrats alike, and america's credit rating has been downgraded. so if you buy these unfulfilled promises that the president's made over the last four years, as the song goes, not only will i sell you some oceanfront property in arizona, i'll throw the golden gate bridge in for free. in short, much of what the president has said in 2009, in february 2009 has been hollow rhetoric unmet with action and
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follow-up. i can only hope that the president's speech tonight will seriously address our biggest fiscal challenges: a debt burden larger than our economy. $37 trillion in unfunded medicare liabilities and more than $100 trillion in total unfunded liabilities. in addition, i can only hope that the president will offer a serious plan for boosting economic growth and reducing unemployment. amid the longest period of high unemployment since the great depression, with the national rate still hovering near 8%, americans deserve a president who's focused intensely on the right policies for job creation. a second term offers a second chance. and if the president wants to regain the credibility he's lost over the last four years on each
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of these issues, he'll start tonight. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, what is the regular order? the presiding officer: the senate is considering s. 47. mr. leahy: mr. president, before i go on that, i would note that many have come to this moore to talk about -- have come to this floor to talk about deficits and things of that nature. i would ask anybody who is decrying our deficits if they voted for a needless war in iraq and then voted to put o it on te credit card? the war in iraq has cost this nation nearly $1 trillion so far
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and with all the wounded that have come back from this unnecessary war, we will beyond our lifetimes still be paying for that. it was the only war -- that and afghanistan -- the only wars in america's history where we did not pay for it, did not have a special tax to pay for the war. both were put on a credit card. they were begun at a time when the last administration had inherited a large surplus from the democratic administration before it. since i have been old enough to vote, only democratic administrations have left surpluses. but they took that surplus, just wasted it on the war in iraq, plus -- and because they were unwilling to pay for this war, a war that was paid for only by the men and women who served there and their families.
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we don't have a draft. most people could say, well, it doesn't affect me. it affected those families enormously. and it's going to affect every single taxpayer for the rest of their life because it'll take that long to pay for a war that so many in this body and the other body voted for but then stand up and say, we can't -- we can't possibly have taxes to pay for things we spent. well, that's one thing they voted for. they voted for without paying for a war. i would just urge everybody, don't lose sight of that. we talk about deficits and all. don't lose sight of the enact a major part of our -- don't lose sight of the fact that a major part of our deficit was the fact that the house and senate voted for a war we never should have been in and one i voted against.
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in fact,everybody who ruly actuy read the intelligence material voted against it. they voted for these wars. they voted not to pay for it. and now we're telling our children and grandchildren, you're is going to have to pay for our mistakes. i don't want to hear lectures about our deficit from people who voted to help create that deficit by voting for an unnecessary war. mr. president, on the subject we're on, s. 47, today after more than a week of consideration, the senate will finally vote on the violence against women reauthorization act. this is a good bill. it makes needed changes recommended by victims and those who work with them every day. and i urge all those senators who have in the past opposed reauthorizing vawa to end their opposition and join with us,
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join with the bipartisan majority we have in favor of this bill. despite the predictions by some that the republican house of representatives will refuse to consider the senate bill -- which is last year, as you know, we passed the violence against women act overwhelming any this body. the republican leadership refused to consider it in the house. i see reason them to tha to hopy might consider it this year. just yesterday 17 republican members of the house wrote to their own republican leadership urging immediate reauthorization of vawa. they rejected the ideological opposition by the heritage foundation and the family research council. they recognize that vawa is effective, efficient, and successful in curbing domestic violence and supporting victims and that vawa programs save
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lives. they also note, as i've said repeatedly on this floor, quote, "vawa must reach all victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and dating violence and sexual assault and stalking in every community in the country." i ask that a copy of the republic members' letter to speaker boehner be included in the record at this point. the senate has rejected the republican substitute and defeated the coburn amendment to strip the tribal jurisdiction provisions included in the senate bill for the past two years. those amendments would have greatly narrowed vawa's ability to prevent crime and help victims and would have undercut our commitment to all victims of rape and domestic violence.
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so i hope the senators will continue to vote against amendments that weaken this important legislation. mr. president, it is difficult to understand why people would come in here and try to limit which victims could be helped by this legislation. you know, if you're a victim of domestic or sexual violence, you're a victim and the police don't ask, well, which category do you fit in before we decide whether we'll do anything about it? if you're the victim, you don't want to think that a lot of us who've never faced this kind of problem, sat here in this body and said, well, we have to differentiate which victims america will protect. america is for all of us, and we should protect all of us.
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this morning the senate has the opportunity to vote for an amendment that goes in the opposite direction from the coburn amendments and allows us to help more victims of serious crime in the united states and around the world. this morning the senate is voting on the traffic victims reauthorization act written with the input of victims and service providers. it makes critical improvements to existing law. last year this legislation had 57 cosponsors including 15 republicans. in particular i thank senator marco rubio of florida, who's been a strong cosponsor of this important measure. today is february 12. this is a day in which abraham lincoln was born. it was 150 years ago that he delivered the emancipation proclamation.
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i think it would be fitting that the senate pass the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act on his birthday. although the 13th amendment to our constitution was ratified long ago that made slavery illegal, we continue to fight human trafficking, and human trafficking is really nothing other than modern-day slavery. these oftentimes children held in human trafficking, they are slaves and they are treated in the worst possible way. and this terrible crime still occurs throughout the world. and we know even in the united states of america. the polaris project estimates there are more than 27 million victims of trafficking in the world today. the trafficking victims
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protection reauthorization act will help us to continue to make real progress on this issue. it is a parallel effort to our reauthorization of the violence against women act. our effort will stop human trafficking at its roots by supporting both domestic and international fights against trafficking, but then to punish those who perpetrate it. we provide critical resources to help support victims who even once they are discovered, one they are freed, they have to rebuild their lives, sometimes ian extraordinarily difficult thing to do. it ensures that law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to effectively combat all forms of trafficking. it ensures better coordination among federal agencies and between law enforcement and victim service providers and with foreign countries to work on every single part of this
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complicated problem. but it also includes measures to encourage victims to come forward and report this terrible crime. many times they are afraid to or think if they do report it, nothing will happen other than retribution against them. we try to make it possible for them to report it. when they do, it not only leads to more prosecution, but it's going to help more victims. we've included accountability measures to ensure that federal funds are used for their intended purpose. we streamline programs that focus scarce resources on the approaches that have been most successful. we had a senator assert yesterday that trafficking programs have been wasteful and duplicative. in fact, the programs supported by this amendment have been carefully tracked and they've been shown to be effective.
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but, even so, the amendment reduces authorization levels from almost a third from the levels of the last reauthorization because we're determined to ensure efficiency and visa spond to concerns -- and respond to concerns. we've also made similar efforts to streamline vawa. our great country remains a beacon of hope for so many who face human rights abuses. we know the young women and girls, often just 11, 12, or 13 years old are being bought and sold. how can any one of us, if we face our conscience, say that we cannot vote to do something to help girls 11, 12, 13 years old who are being bought and sold, to help bring that to a stop? any one of us who has been a parent or grandparent can look
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at our own children and grandchildren and say, wouldn't we do everything possible if somebody tried to harm them? this allows us to help those children who probably never know personally. we know we can make their life better. we know that workers are being held and forced into labor against their will. so i urge all senators to join in passing the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act. it is not just a policy matter; it is a moral issue. people in this country and millions around the world are counting on us. in my 38 years here, i've said obvious that the united states senate should be and can be the conscience of the nation. i can't think of anything that
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speaks more to our conscience than constitutional option the traffic-- --than stopping the trafficking, human trafficking. i hope that all will support this. and i ask unanimous consent that my amendment number -- i ask unanimous consent that my statements opposing coburn amendment number 15 and coburn amendment number 16 be included in the record separately before the votes on these amendments. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: and i ask consent at that my statement on the port man amendment number 10 be included separately in the record before the vote on that amendment. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: and of course, mr. president, i had asked earlier in connection with the speech i just gave that the letter to speaker boehner and leader cante cantor from memberf
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the republican caucus in the house be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. without objection, so ordered. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, we have had a early unanimous
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consent order so following that, i now ask unanimous consent that the sequence of votes outlined under the previous order now start at 11:30 a.m. and the additional 30 minutes of debate be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees; that following disposition of the coburn amendment number 15, the senate recess for the weekly caucus meetings. further, that at 2:15, the senate resume the sequence of votes under the previous order and, finally, all other provisions of the previous order remain in effect. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: and i ask unanimous consent that my amendment be -- my amendment number 21 be modified with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
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mr. leahy: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum and ask the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, i call up my amendment number 21. as modified. the presiding officer: the clerk will report amendment. the clerk: the senator from vermont, mr. leahy, proposes amendment numbered 21, as modified. mr. leahy leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont.
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mr. leahy: mr. president, i've already spoken about this but i would just reiterate what i said earlier. our country, and justifiably so, is a beacon of hope for so many who face human rights abuses. i think of the iconic statue of liberty and what's written on that. so many come to our shores for that. but we also know that there are many who are being held in these despicable trafficking schemes around the world. 11, 12, 13-year-old children. we have to speak for them. so i hope all senators will join
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me in voting for this amendment, as the trafficking victims reauthorization act. it's a bill written with the input of victims and service providers. it helps us more effectively fight human trafficking. that's r because that's really modern-day slavery. there's no other way of speaking about it. whether you are trafficking people in the sex trade, especially children, or in forced labor, it is slavery. and it's not isolated. there's 27 million victims worldwide today according to the polaris project. and this will help us stop it by supporting both domestic and international efforts to fight against trafficking. just importantly, it helps us punish the perpetrators and
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helps us rebuild the lives of those caught up in it. and we know that funds are always limited. we put accountability measures in to ensure that federal funds are used for their intended purposes. so let us continue to have the united states as this beacon of hope, a beacon of hope to people around the world. and let us pass this. mr. president, i'm going to suggest the absence of a quorum, unless somebody else seeks recognition. mr. president, i see the distinguished senator from florida on the floor, and i would yield the floor. mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you. i just want to echo my support for this -- the amendment that basically is a trafficking victims protection act. human traffic something an issue that people would be shocked at its relevance both in our country and around the world. human slavery is something that
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people think about as happening a long time african-american the fact of the matter is that it is happening today. it is happening all around the world and it is happening in the united states. it is a tragic issue. and it is not just sex trafficking which is something very bad, but it's also labor trafficking. there are people in this country that are brought in under false pretenses. when they come here, they don't get paid, they're mistreat and threatened on many occasions that their family back home will be hurt if they go to the authorities. we have had cases of this happening in florida. we've seen horrible cases documented in florida of this. this is one of the issues that i've really become passionate about and anyone would become passionate about if you meet these survivors, some of these young women and men that have survived brutal treatment. so i would say this is a great step in terms of reauthorizing not just this bill but america's example to the world that we take this issue seriously.
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but i also think this is an issue of awareness. in the years to come, i hope that we'll continue to a tuck -- to talk about this issue because there is a lack of awareness in this country among many people about how serious this problem truly is. i am just grateful in this will be able to move forward, and i want to thank the senator for offering this amendment. should i yield the floor or suggest the absence of a quorum? mr. leahy: mr. president you i appreciate the strong -- mr. president, i support the strong support of the senator from florida on this. he has been a voice of reason and consistency in this area. i would suggest the absence of a quorum with the time equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. grassley: i ask that the quorum call be suspendedment. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. grassley: i ask permission to speak as if in morning business for eight minutes. the presiding officer: without t objection, so ordered. mr. grassley: now, i want to speak about a bill i'm introducing today that's related to the farm bill. it deals with reforming payment limits for farm programs. as one looks back to the fall of 2011 and the failure of what is referred to as the supercommittee at that time, we saw many committees continue on business as usual. however, one committee's members took it upon themselves to continue efforts to tackle spending and propose meaningful
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reductions of expenditures, and that was the senate agriculture committee. for that matter, the house agriculture committee worked towards that end as well, and i commend chairman stabenow and then-ranking member roberts for corralling the many ideas of the members of the committee to write a bill that actually reduced expenditures by $23 billion. we were able to work in committee to get the bill done. we were able to work in a bipartisan manner to get the bill to the senate floor and passed with a bipartisan majority. it is how legislation is supposed to be considered and debated i on the senate floor, something we refer to as regular order. one of the measures in last year's farm bill was my proposal reforming payment limitations to farm programs.
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adopting reformed payment limitations contributed to this $23 billion of savings that i already mentioned. beyond just being a part of saving money, these reforms help ensure farm payments go to those who they were originally intended -- small- and medium-sized farms. there are many reforms that can be made to save money, but -- and we have to try to save more money. but i want to concentrate now, rather than going to some of those things -- and i'll put that portion of my remarks in the record and talk about the bill i'm introducing. when we do move forward on drafting a new farm bill, i will
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again be pushing for the reforms to payment limitations. that's why today i'm introducing the farm program integrity act of 2013 with senators johnson of south dakota, senator enzi and senator brown. the proposed legislation strikes a needed balance of recognizing the need for farm safety net while making sure that we have a defensible and responsible safety net. in case there's any doubt, we do need a farm program safety net for those who argue that we do not need such a safety net for our farmers, i argue that they do not understand the dangers of the nation which do not produce enough food to feed their people. take germany and japan during world war ii, for instance. there came a point where their soldiers had difficulty fighting because they didn't have food to eat. so today their respective
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governments of germany and japan maintain a vigorous support for their farmers. it's a matter of social cohesion as well. without a secure source of food, we jeopardize our very way of life. all we have to do is look around the world where there is hunger, and you see he rioting, stealing and other acts of violence. so we need our farmers to keep producing food not only for here, but what we export as well. for all the advances in modern agriculture, farmers are still subject to conditions out of their control. just look at the drought that still grips much of the united states. without an adequate safety net, some farmers would be left with no ability to make it the following year. that would mean potentially less food being produced for an ever-increasing world population. and that ought to be a scary prospect. while farmers need a safety net, there does come a point where a
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farmer gets big enough or financially secure enough, he can weather tough times without much assistance from the government. somehow though over the years there is developed this perverse scenario where big farmers are receiving a larger share of the farm programs. we now have the largest 10% of the farmers receiving nearly 70% of the assistance under the farm bill. there's nothing wrong with farmers growing his operation. that's the american way. but the taxpayers should not be subsidizing large farming operations to grow even larger. by having reasonable caps on the amount of farm program payments any one farmer can receive, it helps ensure the program meets the intent of assisting small- and medium-size farmers through tough time. my proposed caps on payment will also help encourage the next generation of rural americans to
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take up farming. i'm approached time and again about how to keep young people into farming. with large farmers able to use farm program payments to drive up the cost of land and rental rates, our farm programs end up hurting those that are meant to help, particularly getting younger farmers started. it is simply good policy to have a hard cap on the amount a single farmer can receive in the farm program. we will keep in place a much-needed safety net for farmers who need it, and it will help reduce the negative impact of farm payments have on land prices. our bill sets an overall cap of $250,000 for married couples. in my state, many people would say that that's still too high. but we have to recognize that agriculture is different in different parts of the country. so this has been a figure that has worked as a national
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kroeupls. just as -- as a national compromise. just as important to setting a hard cap on payments is closing off loopholes that will allow nonfarmers to gain the farm program. the bill being introduced today will do this by cutting off the ability of these nonfarmers from abusing what is referred to through the words -- quote, unquote -- actively engaged in farming. in essence, the law says one has to be actively engaged in farming to qualify for farm payments. however, this has been exploited by people who have virtually nothing to do with a farming operation. yet, we see payments from the farm program. our nation has a $16 trillion debt. we cannot afford to simply look the other way and let the people abuse the farm program. the farm program integrity act
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of 2013, the bill that i'm speaking about, is the same in purpose as what it states in its name. this is about increasing the integrity of the farm program. my colleagues here in the senate agreed with me last year as we included this pivotal program in the farm bill. i am confident that these reforms will garner similar approval in this new congress. i mentioned earlier how we need to assess some of the challenges, challenging areas of farm policy as we look to pass a five-year farm bill, and some tough decisions need to be made. however, my proposed reform regarding payment limits do not pose a tough decision. in fact, they are very commonsense and necessary reforms. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a
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quorum and permission to put my entire statement in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, we're going to vote in just a couple of minutes. i would reiterate what i said earlier. this is going to be a vote on the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act. it was a bill that was written with the input of the victims and service providers. last year we had 57 cosponsors, including 15 republicans, that we want to thank. senator rubio, who was on the floor a few minutes ago speaking about it. i couldn't help but think, as i said earlier, when i looked at the calendar today -- february
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12, the day on which abraham lincoln was born -- 150 years ago he delivered the emancipation proclamation. wouldn't it be great if the senate passed a traffic victims reauthorization protection act on president lincoln's birthday. i also said earlier today that the senate should be, often is, the conscience of the nation. i have to imagine that the conscience of the vast majority of our 300 million americans, whether they're republicans or democrats or liberals, moderates, conservatives, independents. their conscience would be built against the idea really slave trafficking, whether it's people
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trapped in the sex trade or in factories where they face the possibility if there's a fire, they're all going to die because they're forced to be there. let's speak. let's speak to the conscience of this country. and, mr. president, have the yeas and nays been ordered on my amendment? the presiding officer: they have not. mr. leahy: mr. president, i'd ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. leahy: i'd yield back all time. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the question is on amendment number 21, as modified. the yeas and nays were previously ordered. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? hearing none, the leahy amendment number 21, the yeas
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are 93. the noes are 5. the amendment is agreed to. mr. leahy: move to reconsider. a senator: lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. leahy: mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. leahy: under the previous order, we are now on amendment number 10. the presiding officer: the amendment has not been made pending. the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i call up amendment 10. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from ohio, mr. portman -- mr. portman: i ask unanimous consent that the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, this is a commonsense amendment. we just voted on the vawa amendment for trafficking that
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senator leahy offered. this is an amendment that deals actually with the underlying legislation. it's really a clarifying amendment. i'm pleased to be joined by senators blumenthal, ayotte, cochran, brown, rubio, alexander and gillibrand. it has to do with offering services to victims of sex trafficking under vawa. this says under section 302 of vawa, we ensure sex trafficking is covered. right now youth and children who are exposed to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking are covered but not sex trafficking. i think it is consistent with the amendment we just passed -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. portman: it is an important clarification of the underlying bill. there are about 300,000 young americans the f.b.i. say are at risk to all this. i hope members on both sides of the aisle agree that sex trafficking should be covered by this act. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i agree with the senator from ohio. i'm perfectly willing to accept this amendment by a voice vote.
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and i do support it. mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i want to thank again the chairman of the judiciary committee, our distinguished colleague, patrick leahy, for his leadership on this bill and on the issue of human trafficking. he has led this chamber. and i want to thank my colleague, senator portman, for truly a commonsense amendment that aims to combat one of the great scourges in the united states and around the world: sex trafficking involving young people. we can take a strong step and send a strong message by providing the kinds of services to young victims as we do to other victims who receive aid under vawa. and i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired.

U.S. Senate
CSPAN February 12, 2013 9:00am-12:00pm EST


TOPIC FREQUENCY Mr. Leahy 28, Germany 21, Europe 14, Vermont 8, Vawa 7, Greece 6, Florida 6, Washington 5, Coburn 5, Rubio 4, Iraq 3, Afghanistan 3, Obama 3, Mr. Mcconnell 3, Mr. Grassley 3, Abraham Lincoln 2, Boehner 2, Leahy 2, Imf 2, Mr. Portman 2
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